'Courageous' officer nabs robbery suspect after chase; Taser helps subdue man after struggle in snow; chief praises 'great police work by a younger officer'.

Byline: Brian Lee

SOUTHBRIDGE -- During the late hours of the blizzard Tuesday, a Southbridge police officer interrupted a knife-toting, masked robbery suspect.

Officer Ryan Chase chased the man's car from an East Main Street convenience store and caught him after it crashed in Thompson, Connecticut, according to Lt. Jose A. Dingui.

By happenstance, Lt. Dingui said Wednesday, Officer Chase had stopped at Xtra Mart about 11:45 p.m. and saw that the convenience store clerk's hands were up, which the officer found to be strange.

The suspect, later identified as Joel R. Reil, 31, of 55 Goddard St., saw the officer outside the store and managed to get into his vehicle, which he had left running next to the store's door, Lt. Dingui said.

Mr. Reil drove away on Route 131 through Dudley and into Thompson, Lt. Dingui said.

But at the Four Corners section of Thompson, the suspect's car crashed into a snowbank and got stuck, the lieutenant said.

The officer tried to pin the suspect in his car, but he escaped through a back door and started running.

Officer Chase managed to tackle Mr. Reil, who struggled with the officer. The officer did not know if he was armed, the lieutenant said.

Officer Chase tried to handcuff the man, but the suspect was "hiding his hands,'' the lieutenant said.

Finally, the officer managed to separate himself from the desperate suspect, get out his Taser and shoot the electroshock weapon at him.

The "courageous'' officer was then able to handcuff him, the lieutenant said.

"This is great police work by a younger officer,'' Lt. Dingui said, adding that Officer Chase, who's been with the department since June 2012, was also aided by "great timing.''

Neither the officer, suspect nor store clerk was injured, according to the lieutenant.

Police recovered $95 that Mr. Reil...

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